Sainte Geneviève, patroness of Paris

Pantheon St Genevieve watching over ParisElena at Tea at Trianon has a post on Sainte Geneviève, whose feast we celebrate today. To illustrate this entry, I chose a painting by Puvis de Chavannes at the Panthéon, probably the most unfairly ignored landmark in Paris (by locals and tourists alike, I must say.)

Originally intended by Louis XV as a church dedicated to Sainte Geneviève, its construction was plagued by all kinds of difficulties, to the point that, decades later, during the Revolution, it was not yet completed or dedicated as a Church. It became, and remains to this day, a burial place for persons the Nation wished to honor. Voltaire, Rousseau, Victor Hugo, Alexandre Dumas, Zola, Braille, Pierre and Marie Curie are buried there.

The  Panthéon was not dedicated as a Church until 1822, under the Restoration of the Bourbons. Later it lost again its religious purpose, but was adorned at the end of the 19th century by a remarkable series of paintings by Puvis de Chavannes, honoring the life of Paris’s patroness. This particular painting represents her watching over the sleeping city.

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